Since the 1970s, Medicare beneficiaries have had the option to receive their Medicare benefits through private health plans, mainly Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), as an alternative to the federally administered traditional Medicare program. The Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997 named Medicare’s managed care program “Medicare+Choice” and the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 renamed it “Medicare Advantage.”  In 2019, the majority of the 64 million people on Medicare are covered by traditional Medicare, but one-third (34%) are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Over the past decade, the number of beneficiaries enrolled in private plans has nearly doubled from 11.1 million in 2010 to 22.0 million in 2019.

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Few People Switch Medicare Advantage Plans Each Year, Raising Questions About Whether Seniors Have the Tools and Information They Need To Compare Plans  

A small share of Medicare Advantage enrollees switch plans each year, but those who do tend to pick plans with lower premiums and out-of-pocket limits than the plans they left behind, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Eleven percent of enrollees voluntarily switched from one Medicare…

Medicare Advantage Plan Switching: Exception or Norm?

The Medicare open enrollment period allows enrollees to compare plans, stick with their current plan, switch to another plan, or shift to traditional Medicare. This analysis examines the extent to which Medicare Advantage enrollees change plans when given the opportunity. It also analyzes the variation in the rate of plan switching by enrollee and plan characteristics and whether people who voluntarily switch plans tend to move to plans with lower premiums, lower out-of-pocket limits, or higher quality ratings.

Medicare Part D in 2016 and Trends over Time

This chartpack presents a summary of Part D enrollment, premiums, cost sharing, benefit design and other key trends in 2016 and changes over time. For 2016, the analysis finds that 40% of Part D enrollees are now in Medicare Advantage drug plans, and over half of all enrollees are in plans offered by just three firms. The chartpack also highlights some concerning trends in the Low-Income Subsidy market, with the fewest number of premium-free plans available since Part D started, and 1.5 million LIS enrollees paying premiums for coverage, even though they have premium-free options available.

Medicare Advantage Hospital Networks: How Much Do They Vary?

This report takes an in-depth look at Medicare Advantage plans’ hospital networks. The analysis draws upon data from 409 Medicare Advantage plans serving beneficiaries in 20 diverse counties that together accounted for about one in seven (14%) Medicare Advantage enrollees nationwide in 2015. The report examines the size and composition of plans’ hospital networks, the variation across counties, the inclusion of Academic Medical Centers and NCI-Designated Cancer Centers, and the relationship between network size and other plan features, including premiums, quality star ratings, per capita Medicare spending, parent organization, and plan tax status.

Medicare Advantage 2016 Spotlight: Enrollment Market Update

This Data Spotlight reviews national and state-level enrollment trends as of March 2016 and examines variation in enrollment by plan type and firm. It analyzes the most recent data on premiums, out-of-pocket limits, Part D cost-sharing for drugs, and plans’ quality ratings for Medicare Advantage enrollees.

Policy Insight Examines How Current Rules May Deter Seniors From Switching from Medicare Advantage to Traditional Medicare and Implications for Medicare’s Future

In this new policy insight, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Tricia Neuman examines current rules that may discourage seniors from switching from Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare.Traditional Medicare…Disadvantaged? explores this issue through the lens of a 67-year old Boomer who faced difficult financial and health coverage choices in the aftermath of…

Traditional Medicare…Disadvantaged?

In this new policy insight, Tricia Neuman examines current rules that may discourage seniors from switching from Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare. The issue is explored through the lens of a 67-year-old beneficiary who faced difficult financial and health coverage choices in the aftermath of a serious biking accident.

Medicare Advantage 2016 Data Spotlight: Overview of Plan Changes

This issue brief analyzes the number and variety of Medicare Advantage plan choices available to beneficiaries in 2016. It describes trends in number of Medicare Advantage plans, plan premiums, and plan quality ratings, including changes in prescription drug coverage and limits on out-of-pocket expenses. This spotlight is part of a series of spotlights tracking key changes in the Medicare Advantage program.

Medicare Advantage and Traditional Medicare: Is the Balance Tipping?

In this brief, we look beneath national trends to examine Medicare Advantage penetration rates and growth rates in counties across the country to assess the extent to which Medicare Advantage plans are poised to cover more beneficiaries than traditional Medicare across the country.